Nicole Magnum is inspired by what her friend has done to get involved in the Ataxia community. Together they are doing things they enjoy that will eventually become much more challenging with a movement disorder.
One of my closest friends, Veronica Denis, was diagnosed with Ataxia when she was 46 in 2018.
She has Spinocerebellar Ataxia 2. When I first heard of her situation, I was devastated! Veronica is a mother of two, a wife, and a teacher. She has always been very active and outgoing. I had the honor of teaching with her for several years. We were on a 6th-grade team together and always worked so well with one another. We still communicate with some of our former students. Veronica taught for 21 years and Ataxia began to affect her teaching which was her passion in life. I know Veronica struggles with the fact she had to stop teaching due to Ataxia as it was always her passion. I keep her in the loop of my own classroom so she can still hear stories about students and the average day of a teacher. Soon after her diagnosis Veronica and I began to relive our youth at concerts. She invited me and to date we have seen Mary J. Blige, BBD with Bobby Brown and SWV. In the summer of 2019, we also took a road trip to Chesapeake, VA to see our former co-workers from our early days of teaching. We enjoyed our visit and got our share of seafood. With the threat of this illness progressing to being wheelchair-bound, Veronica is intentionally living her best life and more!
Veronica is the most positive woman I know, and she is stronger than I ever knew. When I talk to her regularly, she always has a goal set up and a plan to accomplish it. Most people have never heard of Ataxia and are unaware of all the symptoms. Veronica has made it her purpose in life to educate others about this disease so a cure could be found one day. Veronica has met with others that have this disease, so she has other people to talk to about it. She flew to Las Vegas to meet others with Ataxia at the annual National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) annual conference. I truly think that is what gave Veronica purpose to fight this disease. She also flew to Florida to apply for a clinical trial to help document her illness and whether or not an investigative medicine called troriluzole will treat this illness and prevent further progression.
I have shared with others Veronica’s story and remind them how she has pushed through this journey so positively. She is a warrior and will never give up on her purpose! Ataxia has changed our relationship by making us stronger as friends and always knowing I am here to help her any way I can! If I had any advice to give to others I would use Veronica’s attitude, find your purpose in life, and continue to push forward to help yourself and others. I am so very happy I can be close by to help Veronica through this! She is a warrior!
Thank you, Nicole Magnum, for telling us how you are showing support and sharing memorable experiences with your good friend. Surely you enrich each others’ lives, which we all need regardless of our ability.
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